Ugh morning glory. 3 Sisters beds are done!

I got most of my chores done today.  The big bed got weeded and a quick roto-till to loosen the soil for planting.  Mom got the actual plants in the garden,  Four sweet peppers, two types of egg plant and two types of cukes.  Mom’s tall peppers she started back in March wilted a bit in the heat and transplant shock.  Mom gave the peppers a good drink of water and we added the canvas tarps to keep off the direct sun and the peppers perked up after an hour or two.  These light weight canvas painter tarps are great for protecting plants from a light frost or the heat of the sun, relatively inexpensive and great multi-taskers.  SW Idaho has cooler weather coming in this weekend so we are going to keep “hardening” the melons, tomatoes and some of the smaller plants and plant on Monday.

I had a bit more work than I anticipated in the 3 sisters raised beds.  Morning glory was bad even with the layers of mulch I added last fall. I used a garden rake to grab the weeds and pull aside the mulch. I dug up as much of the weeds as possible but these beds will need to be monitored and weeded often this year.  I have to say the soil was looking much better after adding the wood mulch for the last two years.  Not perfect so I added some garden soil and compost to augment the soil I tilled up for the raised beds.  Using both my dirt and augmenting with bought garden soil seems to make make darn good vegetable garden soil.  I don’t block off my raised garden beds from the ground because after one or two years I have not seen much difference in weed growth.  I do see a big difference in veggie production when I include my dirt in the garden soil mix.  I’m feeling positive the 3 ft. x 3 ft. garden bed is going to be easy to work with as far as weeding the beds are concerned. Especially since I left plenty of room for my garden cart and to walk around the beds. I have learned it is a lot easier to weed and work many small garden beds compared to caring for one large bed.    Once I pull the mulch into place between the 3 sisters bed and do some cleanup I will post up some pics.

My back yard grass patch is still a bit spotty but where the grass is growing it has been growing great!  Last year I laid out sod and it did okay but I think my soil prep was not great and the type of grass did not do well with a sun and shade mix.  To correct the problem I’m going with a sun and shade mix that is drought tolerant and made for the local area. I’m adding compost and reseeding the grass this spring to try and fill in the patchy areas.  I have reduced the part of my backyard that is dedicated to lawn because a good lawn takes a lot of work and resources but I also want some lawn around as it is cool in the summer and my little dogs love rolling around and playing in the grass.

I’m lucky, I have no CC&Rs where I live so I can have mulch pathways, a front yard garden with edibles.  I can experiment with the alley way beds and learn how to kill out weeds naturally, without using roundup that kills everything including the soil.  I have had better luck killing weeds by using mulch and augmenting the soil rather than resorting to “Chemical” warfare” against Mama nature.  I’m not sure it is actually slower as last summer Mom and I dug up “goat heads” /puncture vine and I added wood ash, a killer mulch made of walnut leaves and a layer of wood mulch.  For plants I have added Sunchokes and a few sedum plants to provide ground cover.  Mom cleaned up the weeds, some thistle, “Cheat” grass and some Fox tails among others but NO! Goat heads at all were dug up.  Not a bad result in just one growing season.

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